Why do all insight decks look rubbish?

Posted on by Isolde Roche

I've written a piece for The Latest, C Space's newsletter. We all know insight decks don't need to look bad...


Why do all insight decks look rubbish?

by Isolde Jennings

Picture the scene: you’re 24 years old, you’ve been tasked with producing the cover of a prize publication, working with a trendy design agency. That was me, a few years ago. And the challenge that stood between me and print was design, and budget. There wasn’t enough money for the type of design and finish they wanted for the cover story.

Our editor said ‘Just tell them we’ll run without it’. So I did… The next day I got a call from my contact at the agency, a man renowned in the design world.  He told me the cover design was integral and couldn’t understand why we didn’t see that. Without it, things didn’t make as much sense.

This has stayed with me throughout my career. I’m more often found crafting presentations than magazine covers now. But the challenge remains - when you’re up against the clock, it’s tempting to put design to one side.

In my evenings, I teach at Central Saint Martins, working with professionals who want to present their work in more interesting and innovative ways.  There I met Michael Cooke, Strategic Development Director at Marie Curie. He works tirelessly to spread design thinking throughout the organisation, and is seeing the effects. We spoke recently on this topic and he reminded me that

We all get used to seeing the same old charts and going round the same arguments in a well-worn groove. Applying design thinking combined with good presentation helps us to come up with new ways of getting people involved in the discussion, and coming up with better solutions.’

Cooke has recently applied this mindset to a workshop with the executive team.

‘We put data visualisations and quotes up on the wall, organised thematically. We also had a four-foot high diagram that we drew by hand. The ends of people’s lives are inherently unpredictable, but it's difficult to get across what that means for us as a provider of nursing care in people's homes. So we visualized the granular data we had in relation to visit requests: the visits that nurses actually made, cancelled appointments etc. This very quickly showed how random the patterns are, and how often they change,…(displayed) in a way that we couldn’t have with a simple sentence or data table.’

Cooke is part of a group convened by Marie Curie, the Design for Care Collaborative, which includes doctors, designers and members of Marie Curie's Expert Voices group, who have experience of end of life care services. As professionals concerned with developing insight and strategy thinking, Michael and his team are paving a compelling way of bringing our stories to life.   

You can read about the great work they are involved in here.

And more information on the the course I teach is here.